Public health nurses

What is a public healthcare nurse?

Public health nurses (PHN’S) are registered nurses employed by the Health Service Executive (HSE). They are often based in your local health centre and work in the community, covering a specific geographical area. Public health nurses work in schools, health centres, daycare, community centres and in people's homes.

What does a public health nurse do?

Public health nurses work as part of the health care team based in local HSE health centres, primary care centres and in the community.

Public health nurses work with family doctors (GPs), practice nurses, hospitals, hospices and other local services such as homeless and addiction services.

Adult services

You can get basic nursing care, advice and assistance from a public health nurse. They can refer you to other community care services such as physiotherapy, chiropody and respite care.

In some areas, public health nurses keep a register of older people and visit them as part of their work. Sometimes, this is also provided for people with disabilities.

Newborn services

If you have recently had a baby the public health nurse will visit you and your newborn in your home within 6 weeks of the birth. Read more about maternity care and the public health nurse.

School health services

Public health nurses are involved in the arrangement of school health services.

Can I go to a public health nurse?

You may be able to get public health nurse services if you are:

What is a healthcare assistant?

The HSE may employ Health Care Assistants to assist the public health nursing service. Care assistants provide personal care rather than domestic services but there is some overlap between what they do and what home helps do.

How to apply for a public health nurse?

You may be referred to your local public health nurse by your GP. You or your family can also contact the service yourself through your local health centre or your Local Health Office.

You can find a leaflet about the Public Health Nurse service in different languages on the HSE website.

Page edited: 8 August 2023